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14 February, 2018 01:18:15 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 14 February, 2018 12:17:38 PM
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AL sees split in BNP ahead of next polls

Abu Jakir
AL sees split in BNP ahead of next polls

The Awami League (AL) feels that its arch rival Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), in the aftermath of the conviction of party chairperson Khaleda Zia in a graft case, is likely to split ahead of the 11th parliamentary elections scheduled to be held at the yearend. The main topic of discussion at AL chief Sheikh Hasina’s Dhanmondi political office is when the BNP will split and which leaders would quit the party as BNP appears to be rudderless with Khaleda remaining imprisoned and de-facto chairman Tarique Rahman unlikely to return home to avoid imprisonment.

Alongside his mother Khaleda and three others, Tarique, who has been staying in UK after the 1/11 changeover, was sentenced to 10 years in jail in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case. He was also convicted in several other corruption cases.

Citing the chance of Khaleda’s staying out of the election race because of legal tangles, some AL leaders opined that even if she is able to contest the polls after filing an appeal before the High Court (HC), she might not be able to join campaign as it would require her to get bail.

“…   and if Khaleda has to remain out of poll fray and she has to remain in jail, a faction of the BNP may join the polls leaving others who would opt for boycotting the polls without Khaleda,” a senior leader of AL said.

AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader said yesterday they would not try to split the BNP ahead of the next polls as they do not believe in the politics of division.

“But I think the BNP will split before the next polls and its leaders themselves will be responsible for the division in the party,” said Quader, who is also the road transport and bridges minister.     

When contacted, AL presidium member Mohammad Nasim also said that the BNP might split ahead of the next polls.

He said the AL has no intention to split the BNP. Rather BNP chief Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman will be responsible for the division in the party. This path has already been paved with the imprisonment of Khaleda, he added.

Food minister Qamrul Islam said the BNP will fall apart ahead of the next polls as its chief Khaleda Zia made her son Tarique Rahman the acting chairman of the party, violating their party constitution. For this, many senior leaders of the BNP are unhappy, he added.

A central committee member of the Awami League, wishing anonymity, told this correspondent that the BNP would definitely split ahead of the next polls as many of the BNP’s senior leaders do not accept Tarique’s leadership.

Some political analysts and civil society members also feel that the BNP might split before the next elections if it does not take part in the polls without its chief Khaleda Zia, who was sent to jail for five years by a special court of Dhaka on Thursday.

They say a faction of the BNP will contest the next polls even if its top leadership decides to boycott the polls again. Dr Md Nurul Amin Bepari, professor of the political science department of Dhaka University, said the political crisis in the country would deepen if Khaleda Zia’s party boycotts the election. He also said there is a perception among people that the Sheikh Hasina government wants to hold the polls with the participation of a faction of the BNP.

Sushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Sujan) secretary Dr Badiul Alam Majumder said the AL-led government will try to divide the BNP ahead of the polls for its own interest, but it would be a difficult task.“Earlier, many tried to split the BNP, but did not succeed. So, it all depends on the party’s unity,” he added.

BRAC University teacher and senior journalist, Afsan Chowdhury, said the hope of making the next polls participatory is uncertain as the government will try to hold the next polls with the participation of a faction of the BNP.

However, the BNP’s senior joint secretary general, Ruhul Kabir Rizvi Ahmed, said there is no disagreement within the party and all are united. “Khaleda Zia is our chairperson and Tarique Rahman is the senior vice-chairman. We always work together under their leadership,” he added.

SR

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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